This I Believe

Stephen - state college, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the importance of learning about different cultures. This is not a belief I have always had, not until college did I start to have this new belief.

I was raised in a small town where there wasn’t much diversity. Not until college did I start to have interactions with people from different races and cultures and to be honest—it was a culture shock. The only way I learned about different cultures, was by watching TV. I live in America, the melting pot for all different cultures, how is it that the only culture I have ever learned about—was my own.

My belief started about two years ago when I was preparing my schedule for my fall semester. I was trying to fill my schedule and I came across a course about Indian History. I scheduled for it even though I wasn’t really interested in it.

On the first day of class we began by talking about what we knew about India and their culture. Not too many people raised there hands and I didn’t raise my hand; I didn’t know a lot about India either.

After the first week I decided I didn’t want to keep this course. I was going to drop it and find a new class. After searching the school’s database I couldn’t find a course that would fulfill the same requirement and the same time slot, so I was stuck with this Indian history class that I had no desire to take anymore.

About a month into the course, we started to learn about the religions of India and the conflicts that began hundreds of years ago that are still going on today. With this information I was able to relate India’s conflicts with current issues in the U.S. today that were affecting me. This is when I started to really get interested in this course.

Throughout the course we were able to have traditional Indian food, watch movies that were made in India, and read books on the culture. This was all new to me.

As I finished that semester, I realized that I had almost dropped this course from my schedule and would have never gotten to learn and experience this different culture. I also began to realize that I need to keep an open mind and learn about different cultures.

Today I do feel I have a more open mind and I feel more accepting of others. I will never think twice about learning about different cultures, because as I go through life I never know who I will encounter or even where I will end up.